Trova il tuo prossimo libro preferito

Abbonati oggi e leggi gratis per 30 giorni
The Demonologist: A Novel

The Demonologist: A Novel

Leggi anteprima

The Demonologist: A Novel

3.5/5 (138 valutazioni)
357 pagine
5 ore
Mar 5, 2013


Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a “phenomenon,” he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed.

That evening, David’s wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by the same melancholy moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home.

But what happens in Venice will change everything.

First, in a tiny attic room at the address provided by the Thin Woman, David sees a man restrained in a chair, muttering, clearly insane… but could he truly be possessed? Then the man speaks clearly, in the voice of David’s dead father, repeating the last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars—and a mystery—behind.

When David rushes back to the hotel, he discovers Tess perched on the roof’s edge, high above the waters of the Grand Canal. Before she falls, she manages to utter a final plea: Find me.

What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever.
Mar 5, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

Andrew Pyper was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1968. He is the author of three novels, including international bestseller ‘Lost Girls’ (selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), which is currently in development by John Malkovich for a feature film adaptation. The film rights to ‘The Killing Circle’ have been sold to the award-winning producers of ‘The Last King of Scotland’. Andrew Pyper lives in Toronto.

Correlato a The Demonologist

Libri correlati

Anteprima del libro

The Demonologist - Andrew Pyper


Last night I had the dream again. Except it’s not a dream. I know because when it comes for me, I’m still awake.

There’s my desk. The map on the wall. The stuffed animals I don’t play with anymore but don’t want to hurt Dad’s feelings by sticking in the closet. I might be in bed. I might be just standing there, looking for a missing sock. Then I’m gone.

It doesn’t just show me something this time. It takes me from here to THERE.

Standing on the bank of a river of fire. A thousand wasps in my head. Fighting and dying inside my skull, their bodies piling up against the backs of my eyes. Stinging and stinging.

Dad’s voice. Somewhere across the river. Calling my name.

I’ve never heard him sound like that before. He’s so frightened he can’t hide it, even though he tries (he ALWAYS tries).

The dead boy floats by.

Facedown. So I wait for his head to pop up, show the holes where his eyes used to be, say something with his blue lips. One of the terrible things it might make him do. But he just passes like a chunk of wood.

I’ve never been here before, but I know it’s real.

The river is the line between this place and the Other Place. And I’m on the wrong side.

There’s a dark forest behind me but that’s not what it is.

I try to get to where Dad is. My toes touch the river and it sings with pain.

Then there’s arms pulling me back. Dragging me into the trees. They feel like a man’s arms but it’s not a man that sticks its fingers into my mouth. Nails that scratch the back of my throat. Skin that tastes like dirt.

But just before that, before I’m back in my room with my missing sock in my hand, I realize I’ve been calling out to Dad just like he’s been calling out to me. Telling him the same thing the whole time. Not words from my mouth through the air, but from my heart through the earth, so only the two of us could hear it.





THE ROWS OF FACES. YOUNGER AND YOUNGER EACH TERM. OF course, this is only me getting older among the freshmen who come and go, an illusion, like looking out the rear window of a car and seeing the landscape run away from you instead of you running from it.

I’ve been delivering this lecture long enough to play around with thoughts like these while speaking aloud to two hundred students at the same time. It’s time to sum things up. One last attempt to sell at least a few of the laptop ticklers before me on the magnificence of a poem I have more or less devoted my working life to.

And here we come to the end, I tell them, and pause. Wait for the fingers to lift from the keyboards. Take a full breath of the lecture hall’s undercirculated air and feel, as I always do, the devastating sadness that comes at reciting the poem’s closing lines.

Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.

With these words I feel my daughter next to me. Since she was born—and even before that, as the mere idea of the child I wished to one day have—it is Tess whom I invariably imagine walking out of the garden with, hand in hand.

Loneliness, I go on. "That is what this entire work really comes down to. Not good versus evil, not a campaign to ‘justify the ways of God to men.’ It is the most convincing case we have—more convincing than any in the Bible itself—that hell is real. Not as a fiery pit, not a place above or below but in us, a place in the mind. To know ourselves and, in turn, to endure the perpetual reminder of our solitude. To be cast out. To wander alone. What is the real fruit of original sin? Selfhood! That is where our poor newlyweds are left, together but in the solitude of self-consciousness. Where can they wander now? ‘Anywhere!’ the serpent says. ‘The whole world is theirs!’ And yet they are condemned to choose their own ‘solitary way.’ It is a fearful, even terrifying, journey. But it is one all of us must face, as much now as then."

Here I take another, even longer, pause. Long enough that there is a risk I will be taken as being finished, and someone might stand, or slap her laptop shut, or bark out a cough. But they never do.

Ask yourselves, I say, tightening my hold on Tess’s imagined hand. Where will you go now that Eden has been left behind?

An arm almost instantly shoots up. A kid near the back I’ve never called on, never even noticed, before now.


Is that question going to be on the exam?

MY NAME IS DAVID ULLMAN. I TEACH IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT at Columbia University in Manhattan, a specialist in mythology and Judeo-Christian religious narrative, though my meal ticket, the text upon which my critical study has justified my tenure in the Ivy League and invitations to various academic boondoggles around the world, has been Milton’s Paradise Lost. Fallen angels, the temptations by the serpent, Adam and Eve and original sin. A seventeenth-century epic poem that retells biblical events but with a crafty slant, a perspective that arguably lends sympathy to Satan, the leader of the rebel angels who became fed up with a grumpy, authoritarian God and broke out on his own in a career of making trouble in the lives of humans.

It’s been a funny (the devout might even say hypocritical) way to make a living: I have spent my life teaching about things I don’t believe in. An atheist biblical scholar. A demon expert who believes evil to be a manmade invention. I have written essays about miracles—healed lepers, water into wine, exorcisms—but have never seen a magician’s trick I couldn’t figure out. My justification for these apparent contradictions is that there are some things that bear meaning, culturally speaking, without actually existing. The Devil, angels. Heaven. Hell. They are part of our lives even if we never have and never will see them, touch them, prove them to be real. Things that go bump in the brain.

The mind is its own place, and in it self

Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.

That is John Milton, speaking through Satan, his most brilliant fiction. And I happen to believe the old fellow—both old fellows—have got it right.

THE AIR OF COLUMBIA’S MORNINGSIDE CAMPUS IS DAMP WITH EXAM stress and the only-partial cleansing of a New York rain. I’ve just finished delivering my final lecture of the spring term, an occasion that always brings a bittersweet relief, the knowledge that another year is done (the class prep and office hours and evaluations almost finished) but also that another year has passed (and with it, another distressing click on the personal odometer). Nevertheless, unlike many of the coddled grumblers who surround me at faculty functions and fuss over pointless points-of-order at departmental committee meetings, I still like teaching, still like the students who are encountering grown-up literature for the first time. Yes, most of them are only here as pre–Something That Will Make Serious Money—pre-med, pre-law, pre–marrying rich—but most of them are not yet wholly beyond reach. If not my reach, then poetry’s.

It’s just past three. Time to walk across the tiled quad to my office in Philosophy Hall, drop off the clutch of late term papers guiltily piled on my desk at the front of the lecture hall, then head downtown to Grand Central to meet Elaine O’Brien for our annual end-of-term drink at the Oyster Bar.

Though Elaine teaches in the Psychology Department, I’m closer to her than anyone in English. Indeed, I’m closer to her than anyone I know in New York. She is the same age as me—a trim, squash court and half-marathoned forty-three—though a widow, her husband claimed by an out-of-nowhere stroke four years ago, the same year I arrived at Columbia. I liked her at once. Possessed of what I have come to think of as a serious sense of humor: She tells few jokes, but observes the world’s absurdities with a wit that is somehow hopeful and withering at the same time. A quietly beautiful woman too, I would say, though I am a married man—as of today, at any rate—and acknowledging this kind of admiration for a female colleague and occasional drinking buddy may be, as the University Code of Conduct likes to designate virtually all human interaction, inappropriate.

Yet there has been nothing remotely inappropriate between O’Brien and me. Not a single stolen kiss before she boards her train on the New Haven line, not one flirty speculation over what might happen if we were to scuttle up to a room at some Midtown hotel and see what we’d be like, just once, in the sack. It’s not repression that prevents us—I don’t think it is, anyway—and it’s not entirely our mutual honoring of my marital vows (given that we both know my wife threw hers out the window for that smug prick in Physics, the smirky string theorist, Will Junger, a year ago). I believe O’Brien and I (she is Elaine only after a third martini) haven’t nudged things in that direction because we fear it might befoul what we already have. And what do we have? A profound if sexless intimacy of a kind I’ve never known with either man or woman since childhood, and perhaps not even then.

Still, I suppose O’Brien and I have been carrying on an affair of sorts for the better part of the time we’ve been friends. When we get together, we talk about things I haven’t talked about with Diane for some time. For O’Brien, it is the dilemma of her future: fearing the prospect of single old age while recognizing she’s become used to being on her own, indulgent of her habits. A woman increasingly unmarryable, as she puts it.

For me, it is the dark cloud of depression. Or, I should say, what I reluctantly feel obliged to call depression, just as half the world has diagnosed itself, though it doesn’t seem to precisely fit my case. All my life I have been pursued by the black dogs of unaccountable gloom, despite the good luck of my career, the initially promising marriage, and the greatest fortune of all, my only child: a bright and tender-hearted daughter, who was born following a pregnancy all the doctors said would never come to term, the only miracle I am prepared to concede as real. After Tess arrived, the black dogs went away for a little while. But as she graduated from toddlerhood to chattering school age, they returned, hungrier than before. Even my love for Tess, even her whispered bedtime wishes of Daddy, don’t be sad could not hold them at bay.

There has always been a sense that there’s something not quite right with me. Nothing you’d notice on the outside—I’m nothing if not polished, as Diane described me with pride when we first started dating, and now uses the same term in a tone that bears scathing connotations. Even on the inside I am honestly free of self-pity or frustrated ambition, an atypical state for a tenure-track academic. No, my shadows issue from a more elusive source than the textbooks would have it. And as for my symptoms, I can tick few if any checkmarks beside the list of warning signs on the mental health public service announcements plastered above the doors of subway cars. Irritability or aggression? Only when I watch the news. Lost appetite? Nope. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to lose ten pounds since I left college. Trouble concentrating? I read Dead White Guy poems and undergrad papers for a living—concentration is my business.

My malady is more an indefinable presence than pleasure-draining absence. The sense that I have an unseen companion following me through my days, waiting to seize an opportunity, to find a closer relationship than the one it already enjoys. In childhood, I vainly tried to ascribe a personality to it, treat it as an imaginary friend of the kind I’d heard other children sometimes conjured. But my follower only followed—it did not play or protect or console. Its sole interest lay—and still lies—in providing dark company, malicious in its silence.

Professorial semantics, maybe, but it feels more like melancholy to me than anything as clinical as the chemical imbalances of depression. What Robert Burton called in his Anatomy of Melancholy (published four hundred years ago, back when Milton was first sketching his Satan) a vexation of spirit. It’s as though my very life has been haunted.

O’Brien has almost given up suggesting I should see a shrink. She’s grown too used to my reply: Why should I when I have you?

I’m allowing myself a smile at this when it is instantly wiped away by the sight of Will Junger coming down the Low Library’s stone steps. Waving my way as though we are friends. As though his fucking my wife for the last ten months is a fact that has momentarily escaped his mind.

David! A word?

What does this man look like? Something sly and surprisingly carnivorous. Something with claws.

Another year, he says once he stands in front of me, stagily breathless.

He squints at me, shows his teeth. It’s expressions like these, I suppose, that counted as charming in his first post–yoga class coffees with Diane. This was the word she used when I asked the always first, always useless, question of the cuckold: Why him? She shrugged, as though she didn’t require a reason, and was surprised that I might. "He’s charming," she said finally, landing on the word as a butterfly decides which flower to rest on.

Listen, I don’t want this to be difficult, Will begins. I’m just sorry for the way things have turned out.

And how is that?


How have things turned out?

He rolls out his lower lip in a gesture of hurt. String theory. That’s what he teaches, what he talks to Diane about, presumably, after he’s rolled off her. How all matter, if you peel it down to the essentials, is bound by impossibly tiny strings. I don’t know about matter, but I could believe that this is all Will Junger is made of. Invisible strands that lift his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth, an expertly rendered puppet.

I’m just trying to be a grown-up here, he says.

You have any kids, Will?

Kids? No.

Of course you don’t. And you never will, you selfish child, I say, heaving myself full of damp air. "Trying to be a grown-up here? Fuck you. You think this is a scene in some indie drama you take my wife to in the Village, some pack of lies the guy at the Times said was so naturalistically performed. But in real life? We’re bad actors. We’re slobs who actually hurt. You don’t feel it, you couldn’t, but the pain you’re causing us—causing my family—it’s destroying our lives, what we have together. What we had."

Listen, David. I—

I have a daughter, I go on, steamrolling him. "A little girl who knows something is wrong, and she’s slipping into this dark place I don’t know how to pull her out of. Do you know what it is to watch your child, your everything, come apart? Of course you don’t. You’re empty. A summa cum laude sociopath who talks about literally nothing for a living. Invisible strings! You’re a nothing specialist. A walking, talking vacancy."

I didn’t expect to say all this, but I’m glad I have. Later, I’ll wish I could hop in a time machine and return to this moment to deliver a better-crafted insult. But for now, it feels pretty good.

It’s funny you say that about me, he says.


Ironic. Perhaps that’s the better term.

"Ironic is never the better term."

This was Diane’s idea, by the way. That we talk.

You’re lying. She knows what I think of you.

"But do you know what she thinks of you?"

The puppet strings are lifted. Will Junger smiles an unexpected smile of triumph.

 ‘You’re not here,’  he says. "That’s what she says. ‘David? How would I know how David feels? He’s not here.’ "

There’s no reply to this. Because it’s true. That’s been the death sentence of our marriage, and I have been powerless to correct the fault. It’s not workaholism, not the distractions of a lover or obsessive hobby, not the distance to which men tend to retreat as they drag their feet into middle age. Part of me—the part Diane needs—simply isn’t here anymore. Lately I can be in the same room, the same bed, and she reaches for me, but it is like trying to grasp the moon. What I’d like to know, what I’d pray to be told if I thought praying might work, is where the missing piece is. What did I leave behind? What did I never have to start with? What name is to be given the parasite that has fed on me without me noticing?

The sun comes out and all at once the city is bathed in steam, the library steps glinting. Will Junger wrinkles his nose. He is a cat. I see that now, far too late. A black cat that’s crossed my path.

Gonna be a hot one, he says and starts away into the new light.

I HEAD PAST THE BRONZE OF RODIN’S The Thinker (HE LOOKS LIKE he has a toothache, Tess once rightly said of him) and into Philosophy Hall. My office is on the third floor, and I take the stairs clinging to the handrail, drained by the sudden heat.

When I reach my floor and make the corner I’m hit by a sensation of vertigo so intense I scramble to the wall and cling to the brick. I’ve had, now and then, panic attacks of the sort that leave you momentarily breathless, what my mother would call dizzy spells. But this is something else altogether. A distinct sensation of falling. Not from a height but into a borderless space. An abyss that swallows me, the building, the world in a single, merciless gulp.

Then it’s gone. Leaving me glad that nobody witnessed my spontaneous wall hugging.

Nobody but the woman sitting on the chair outside my office door.

Too old to be a student. Too well-dressed to be an academic. I put her in her mid-thirties at first, but as I approach, she seems older, her bones overly pronounced, the premature aging of the eating disordered. She looks to be starving, in fact. A brittleness her tailored suit and long, dyed black hair cannot hide.

Professor Ullman?

Her accent is European, but generically so. It could be an American-flavored French, German, or Czech. An accent that hides one’s origins rather than reveals them.

I’m not holding office hours today.

Of course. I read the card on your door.

Are you here about a student? Is your child in my class?

I am used to this scene: the helicopter parent, having taken out a third mortgage to put her kid into a fancy college, making a plea on behalf of her B-student Great Hope. Yet even as I ask this woman if this is the case, I know it isn’t. She’s here for me.

No, no, she answers, pulling a stray strand of hair from her lips. I am here to deliver an invitation.

My mailbox is downstairs. You can leave anything addressed to me with the porter.

"A verbal invitation."

She stands. Taller than I expected. And though she is as worryingly thin as she appeared while seated, there is no apparent weakness in her frame. She holds the balls of her shoulders wide, her sharp chin pointed at the ceiling.

I have an appointment downtown, I say, though I am already reaching for the handle to open the door. And she is already shuffling close to follow me in.

Only a moment, professor, she says. I promise not to make you late.

MY OFFICE IS NOT LARGE, AND THE STUFFED BOOKSHELVES AND stacked papers shrink the space even more. I’ve always felt this lends the room a coziness, a scholarly nest. This afternoon, however, even after I fall into the chair behind my desk and the Thin Woman sits on the antique bench where my students ask for extensions or beg for higher grades, it is suffocating. The air thin, as though we have been transported to a higher altitude.

The woman smoothes her skirt. Her fingers too long. The only jewelry she wears is a gold band on her thumb. So loosely fitting it spins whenever she moves her hand.

An introduction would be customary at this point, I say, surprised by the crisp aggression of my tone. It doesn’t come from a position of strength, I realize, but self-defense. A smaller animal puffing up to create the illusion of ferocity before a predator.

My real name is information I cannot provide, unfortunately, she says. Of course I could offer something false—an alias—but lies of any sort make me uncomfortable. Even the harmless lies of social convenience.

This puts you at an advantage.

"An advantage? But this isn’t a contest, professor. We are on the same side."

What side is that?

She laughs at this. The sickly rattle of a barely controlled cough. Both hands flying up to cover her mouth.

Your accent. I can’t quite place it, I say when she has settled and the thumb ring has stopped spinning.

I have lived in many places.

A traveler.

A wanderer. Perhaps that is the way to put it.

Wandering implies an absence of purpose.

Does it? But that cannot be. For it has brought me here.

She slides herself forward so that she is perched on the bench’s edge, a movement of perhaps two or three inches. Yet it’s as though she has come to sit upon my desk, the space between us impolitely close. I can smell her now. A vaguely barnyard whiff of straw, of close-quartered livestock. There is a second when I feel like I may not be able to take another breath without some visible show of disgust. And then she begins. Her voice not wholly disguising the scent, but somehow quieting its intensity.

I represent a client who demands discretion above all. And in this particular case, as you will no doubt appreciate, this requirement limits me to only relating the most necessary information to you.

A need-to-know basis.

Yes, she says, and cocks her head, as though she’s never heard the phrase before. Only what you need to know.

Which is what?

Your expertise is required to assist my client in understanding an ongoing case of primary interest. Which is why I am here. To invite you, as a consultant, to provide your professional insight, observations, whatever you may feel to be of relevance in clarifying our understanding of the— She stops here, seeming to choose from a list of possible words in her mind, and finally settling on the best of an inadequate selection. The phenomenon.


If you will forgive my generality.

It all sounds very mysterious.

Necessarily so. As I mentioned.

She continues to look at me. As if I have come to her with questions. As if it is she who waits for me to move us forward. So I do.

You refer to a ‘case.’ What does it involve, precisely?

Precisely? That is beyond what I am able to say.

Because it’s a secret? Or because you don’t understand it yourself?

The question is fair. But to answer it would be a betrayal of what I have been charged to disclose.

You’re not giving me much.

At the risk of overstepping my instructed limits of conversation, let me say that there isn’t much for me to give. You are the expert, professor, not me. I have come to you seeking answers, your point of view. I have neither.

Have you yourself seen this phenomenon?

She swallows. The skin of her neck stretched so tight I can see it move down her throat like a mouse under a bedsheet.

I have, yes, she says.

And what is your opinion of it?


How would you describe it? Not professionally, not as an expert, but you personally. What do you think it is?

Oh, that I couldn’t say, she says, shaking her head, eyes down, as though I am flirting with her and the attention is cause for embarrassment.

Why not?

She raises her eyes to me. Because there is no name for it I could give, she says.

I should ask her to go. Whatever curiosity I held about her when I first spotted her outside the office door is gone. This exchange can go nowhere now but into some

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
Pagina 1 di 1


Cosa pensano gli utenti di The Demonologist

138 valutazioni / 40 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    The Good Stuff Pyper has a true gift in writing the quietly creepy. Once I start reading one of his novels I am hooked, scared out of my pants of course, but I cannot put it down. Will read everything and anything he writes David and his daughter are realistic yet utterly fascinating characters Story slowly builds yet constantly holds your interest I am not scared to read Paradise Lost anymore (yes I have low self esteem when it comes to great literary works, feel I am not intelligent enough to read and understand them) Haunting and moody Good portrayal of depression and how it effects the family Liked the slowly unraveling of what happened in the past The relationship between Elaine and David was a nice addition - would have liked more in that area The connection between Tessa and her Dad is heartbreaking yet beautiful Good uses of dark humourThe Not So Good Stuff As I am not the most intelligent of readers, I still am not exactly sure what happened at the end. Probably should have spent more time paying attention in class instead of reading those romance novels Wife was more of a caricature than an actual character Cough cough for the love of God Pyper you are Canadian - lets spell colour correctly ; )Favorite Quotes/Passages"The rows of faces. Younger and younger each term. Of course, this is only me getting older among the freshman who come and go, an illusion, like looking out the rear window of a car and seeing the landscape run away from you instead of you running from it.""A seventeenth-century epic poem that retells biblical events but with a crafty slant, a perspective that arguably lends sympathy to Satan, the leader of the rebel angels who became fed up with a grumpy, authoritarian God and broke out on his own in a career of making trouble in the lives of humans.""Demons afflict the weak""Or the ones who ask for help without caring who's ready to give it."Who Should/Shouldn't Read Fans of Pyper's previous works will enjoy This is definitely for those who enjoy a good psychological paranormal thriller 4 Dewey'sI received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review
  • (3/5)
    A story of faith this novel follows a university professor who specialized in Milton's Paradise Lost as he tries to save his daughter from the devil. This is a story about a father's love, dealing with the past, and coming to terms with religion. A journey through Milton's epic poem as seen through the eyes of the professor, he must resolve his past and comes to terms with God in order to survive the journey.

    Pyper does an incredible job at portraying a non-believer on a faith quest. He has also succeeded in taking an epic poem (which is difficult and a slow read at best) and making it relevant in today's society.
  • (3/5)
    I decided to read this after I had read and been very impressed by Pyper's The Wildfire Season even though my initial reaction on reading the review was that I didn't think it would be my type of book. In retroscpect I think that is true. This book is much more horror than I usually like to read but because it is Pyper it is a very literary type of horror.David Ullmann is an English professor who specializes in the work of John Milton and especially Paradise Lost. He is also a wounded soul. His wife is having an affair with another professor and his young daughter is exhibiting symptoms of the depression that has plagued him all his life. Then a woman offers him a substantial sum of money and a plane ticket to Venice to go to a particular address there and witness what he encounters. She is very mysterious about who wants him to do this or even why he was chosen. David initially decides to ignore the offer but after his best friend tells him she has incurable cancer and his wife announces that she is leaving him he decides that a trip to Venice is just what he and his daughter, Tess, need. Boy was he wrong! He opens a can of worms that results in his daughter disappearing. On his return to New York he becomes convinced that his daughter is still alive and that a demon wants him to do something that, if he succeeds, will bring his daughter back. He commences a road trip across half of the US and even into Canada with supernatural encounters along the way. His expert knowledge of Milton provides clues as to where he should head.Maybe it is because I have never liked horror but this book just didn't really work for me. I found the whole premise weak and the road trip just seemed to be there to pad the middle. It was scary though so if that's what you like then this book is for you.
  • (2/5)
    Not his best. Anticlimactic .
  • (4/5)
    Two of my favorite writers, Gillian Flynn and S.J. Watson, blurbed this book, and I took that as good omen because these folks know what it takes to create a tale that will keep a reader up late and glued to the pages. And Maclean's declared it "a fast paced Exorcist-meets-DaVinci Code", which sounded hilarious in a way, but, after reading it, I have to agree.This is a story of a man, his daughter and something very demonic, and unnamed. The main character, Professor David Ullman, is an expert on Milton's Paradise Lost, and has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reputation as a demonologist because of it. His marriage has just dissolved, and he's left with his young and very withdrawn daughter. So it seems fortuitous when a visitor comes to his office and asks him to travel to Venice to "witness a phenomenon"--bringing his daughter was fine and the money offered staggering. But the phenomenon turned out to be beyond hellish, and was now attached to him and his daughter. The professor is pushed into more and more terrifying situations in order to get them free, all the while appearing a madman to everyone else around him. This book is creepy, breath-stealing and pretty much impossible to put down. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you are up to it, it's a riveting read.
  • (4/5)
    My Summary: David has never believed in demons, or Hell, or anything even closely resembling the things on which he finds himself an expert. His work has brought him fame in the literary community, but David refuses to believe in anything that cannot be explained.When a mysterious woman appears offering David a chance to test his expertise and make a lot of money in the process he reluctantly agrees, thinking it is just what he needs. With his daughter Tess in tow, he travels to Venice to bear witness to the strange 'phenomenon'. But things are not what they appear to be, and a string of events leads to David's daughter being taken from him by a mysterious demonic entity with a keen interest in David. With nothing but his knowledge on Paradise Lost - a book he thought he knew inside out - David must journey to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed, all the while fighting the very things he refused to believe existed.My Thoughts: I've always been a huge fan of the paranormal, so I did a little happy dance when I found this book in my mailbox. Years of watching Supernatural taught me a very important lesson: don't mess with demons. But that's exactly what our main character does. Stubbornly refusing to believe in anything paranormal - all while claiming to be an expert on the topic - gets our MC into quite the situation. I loved the flow of the story, as well as the backdrop: there's something about Venice that just invites the supernatural, don't you think? David's love for his daughter was endearing, and his journey to save Tess had me on the edge of my seat. The author is incredibly skilled at combining a variety of paranormal elements and still managing to make the story work. Pyper's use of Paradise Lost had me itching to re-read it myself to see if I could discover any hidden codes of my own.The Demonologist was incredibly well-written. I ended up finishing it in just over eight hours, so you know it's definitely worth a look!Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to fans of the paranormal, as well as anyone who enjoys shows like Supernatural.
  • (4/5)
    Pyper is a fine writer whose stories always evoke strong emotions built through ambiance and places. In this novel, he chooses geographical places to illustrate fictional ones, with Milton's Paradise Lost used as a map, creating a puzzle which the reader tries to reconstitute with the characters.The themes aren't particularly interesting: the dark arts and the Bible as sources of horror have been fashionable for a while now, so while I found the story interesting, it's not what gripped me. For me, it was the transposition from the imagined to the real: whether Central Station as Pandemonium, Venice as a multilayered city of light and dark, or Fireweed Lake as an image for Hell and the River Styx.This is not my favourite from Pyper, but the writing is delightful and I enjoyed the read.
  • (3/5)
    David Ullman, college professor and noted scholar on demonic literature, such as John Milton's Paradise Lost. He is also a man frequently troubled by bouts of depression, which may be the reason that his wife has been having an affair with another professor for the last year. However, his love for his 12 year old daughter, Tess, sustains him. When his wife leaves him for her lover, he decides to accept a previous request for a mysterious consultation in Venice and to take Tess with him. Shortly after their arrival, his consultation leads to evidence of true contemporary demonic manifestation, which culminates in the demon-coerced suicide of his daughter.

    The unnamed demon wishes to be revealed to the world and believes David to be the one for this revelation. But first David must name the demon. If he is successful in naming the demon and revealing his presence to the world, David believes that his daughter will be returned to him. The solution to this puzzle is revealed in clues left by Tess' diary and from Paradise Lost, which precipitates a journey of discovery from one site of demonic activity to another, one that has a deadline. The Catholic Church, however, believes that it would be better to prevent the disclosure of demonic activity in the contemporary world and sends someone known as the Pursuer after him.

    At times, some of the character descriptions reminded me of The Exorcist; however, David's journey that drove him from Florida to Canada traveling from one episode to another of demonic activity reminded me of the television show "Supernatural." Anyone who enjoys being frightened by "things that go bump into the night" will enjoy this book and find themselves turning pages late into the night too afraid to fall asleep.
  • (3/5)
    What to say, what to say. Well Pyper is definitely a good writer. His style sucked me in at first. But after a while it seemed like too much for me. I liked the character, David Ullman. I found him compelling. He is on a quest to literally beat the devil and save his daughter from, well I am not really sure. Hell probably. I think it is really me who has the problem. It is just too literary for me. His journey too symbolic. The evil here is just too vague. The end was not satisfying at all. If you like really well written books you might give it a try.
  • (4/5)
    Every time I walked through BMV, which for those of you not in Toronto, is a FANTASTIC bookstore, I would pass The Demonologist sitting on one of the bookshelves. And every time I’d pick it up, carry it around, and then decide to put it back. Finally I grabbed it since I was obviously being pulled to it.

    I’ve never read John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and I kind of want to now just to see what parts could have been better in The Demonologist. Even without a complete contextual understanding, I did enjoy it.

    In the beginning of the book, David’s wife accuses him of never being present in the moment, that’s why she’s leaving him. I liked how this forced him to take his daughter to Venice, and the cirumstances around Tess disappearing force him to focus on nothing BUT the present moment. It reminded me of being stuck in a rut, and then finding something that awakens such a passion within you that you are compelled to do it. Regardless of how stupid people think it is, you have to statisfy this…craving to DO something that takes over. That’s how I see David’s mission to find Tess.

    The only thing that sort of confused me was the demons. At one point it says that they take over the identities of people who have died. Does this make them ghosts? Weird zombies? Can other people see them? If Aunt Fran died a week ago, would I have to worry about a demon taking over her body and seeing her in the grocery store? These are the questions I had.

    There were a couple of times when the demons took over living people that reminded me of Supernatural. They take over the body, but the person is still trapped inside. They’re just “meat suits” as Daddy Winchester would say.

    Overall, pretty good. I enjoyed it and it was a quick read.
  • (3/5)
    I have had this book on my TBR for years....years! I finally got around to reading it and I'm still up in the air about it. It is possible that I just wasn't in the mood at the time or (more possible) I just wasn't feeling this book. Either way, I was a bit disappointed. I described this as a mix of The DaVinci Code, Taken and Legion. It was also about 100 pages to long, in my opinion.Don't get me wrong, this book wasn't bad. I just found it dragged on and on in between the exciting and interesting parts. When it was interesting and was really interesting and really creepy! I also think the ending was very well done. I would love to see a movie based on this.
  • (4/5)
    Creepy story - just the kind I enjoy. The plot involves Paradise Lost by John Milton. Worth the read.
  • (4/5)
    Occasionally I enjoy a good literary thriller, and this one did not disappoint. I couldn't put it down. There was a lot going on in this book, but I appreciated the fact that it didn't get bogged down in a lot of unnecessary detail. In fact, sometimes I found myself wishing for a little more. I wouldn't have minded if this book had gone on for a bit longer!
  • (5/5)
    I'm not going to lie. If I could have given this book four and a half stars, I would have done so for one reason. It took me 75 pages to invest in the story enough to read more than two pages at a time. That being said, page 76 took me on a seat of your pants roller-coaster ride of emotion that left me feeling drained, yet satisfied. The 75 page build gave me an appreciation for the relationship between each character and the motivations behind their movements. This book has been added to my favorites shelf. It may have been a slow build, but the remainder of the book made up for every page I felt myself struggle through. Definitely a book to share and to read again.
  • (1/5)
    Couldn't finish.

    I find his writing style to be cliched and thin.

    He devotes much of his energy and focus to plotting. His characters are well enough drawn but I found the narrative to be just too familiar (like I've seen these set pieces too many times before).

    It's more of personal thing. It's actually probably a pretty good horror thriller that just didn't hold my interest.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed the literary side to this novel and the riddles and clues. That is what kept me reading this novel. I would not classify this as horror, maybe suspense, but certainly not horror. Tess was the most interesting character with her journal entries and insights. I wanted to like this book more than I did, but it did not live up to the description on the back.
  • (4/5)
    The Demonologist is a fun pastiche of several genres: thriller, horror, literary mystery, and travel novel. It’s a quick read, and one that just may keep you up all night.Prof. David Ullman has suffered from depression for his entire life. He calls it his ‘melancholy’, and it has driven him to devote his work to the esoteric, mad, and deviant: John Milton’s Paradise Lost, a Christian apology and biography of the devil. A non-believer, he lectures on the epic poem, parsing it for his students at Columbia University and becoming the foremost scholar in his field. When strange and mysterious woman shows up in his office offering him the trip of a lifetime (first class tickets to Venice, a world class hotel, and a fee that amounts to a third of his yearly salary for an afternoon’s work), he is skeptical, but agrees. His marriage is falling apart (his wife is sleeping with a smarmy colleague), and his daughter Tess is showing signs of the same depression that has dominated his life. A father-daughter trip may be just the thing to cheer them up.That is, until they arrive in Venice and Prof. Ullman discovers that some offers are too good to be true. After witnessing the ravings of a possessed man deep in Venice’s labyrinth, he returns to his hotel only to find he’s brought the monster with him…and it takes his daughter. But the demon isn’t done with him. If Prof. Ullman can solve the demon’s riddles and prove his worth, there’s a chance he’ll get Tess back…if he doesn’t die trying.This novel has an intriguing premise: academic must go to Europe and solve demonic riddles using an esoteric text, the forces of evil run amok, and a hostage and a time limit complicate things. But the publisher’s blurbs have made this novel sound very Dan Brown-esque, which may be off-putting to many readers. I’m not knocking Dan Brown; the man writes a gripping, complex literary thriller, he encourages literacy, and he tricks millions who wouldn't otherwise be interested into reading about art, math, and philosophy. But no one wants to read a tired knock-off.Fortunately, The Demonologist only resembles a Dan Brown novel superficially. The hero quickly returns to the US (sorry, no mystery solving in Europe’s capitals, folks), and then embarks on a frenzied road trip across the US. David must interpret clues Tess has left behind in her journal, the ravings of the reanimated dead (who usually dole out clues through Milton quotes), and strange news stories in local newspapers. The demon has only given him a week to sort out all of the clues AND figure out the demon’s endgame, or Tess will be lost forever. David’s journey is complicated by a colleague who insists on joining him and unnamed pursuer with murderous intentions.David’s encounters with the dead and the demon are frightening and ghoulish, and Pyper’s descriptions would be at home in an Anne Rice novel. The professor has to witness horrible, senseless violence, and he must try to reason with pure evil. His pursuer is ruthless and tenacious. And the demon can seemingly appear any time, which ratchets up the tension throughout. So, atmosphere and pacing are great. Character development could have been improved with lengthening the novel. David Ullman has some depth with his long-standing depression, but none of the other characters have much going on – we don’t learn much about their origins or motivations. The novel really could have benefitted from more detail on the Pursuer or the Thin Woman. Who are they? Why do they do what they do? Pyper misses some opportunities here. The characterization of Tess is not in keeping with a girl her age – her writing and reasoning are very sophisticated for a child of 12, and probably too mature for a real girl.I loved the road trip aspect of this work, but there I had some difficulty suspending disbelief. David manages to drive vast distances in short periods of time – and the author is very sketchy on the details of time, which is surprising given that the hero is motivated by a time limitation. Now this may be a bit picky, but I had some problems with the plausibility of David’s border crossings too. Pyper is a Canadian. I’ve lived half my life in Canada. We both know that since the mid-2000s you have needed a passport to get into the US from Canada by car. I don’t care if you’re on a spiritual quest to save your daughter and mankind, or if you’re just going to shop the outlet stores in Buffalo: you’re not getting across the border without a passport. And certainly not with bloody wounds. I also found David as a professor unconvincing. It’s clear that the author hasn’t spent a lot of time with tenured professors of top tier American universities. Academics do a whole lot more than lecture once in awhile. If this story were real, Prof. Ullman wouldn’t need to solve clues to exorcize a demon – he would take it to an academic conference on the Bio-Poetics of Renaissance Fundamentalism in Post-Modern Western Theory and bore it to death. Or give it a pile of undergrad essays to grade. The demon would probably prefer hell.And now the ending. No spoilers here, but generally speaking, the ending left a lot to be desired. It was too truncated, too pat, too indefinite. From the nature of lead-up, the ending could have been far more sophisticated. I also found the Paradise Lost element disappointing. A few lines here and there to motivate the plot or provide clues, but no in-depth analysis of the work, no complex use of the text or its interpretations. Pyper gave Milton a superficial reading and then sprinkled his novel with some references. There is so much room here for greater engagement with the text, the nature of evil, literary puzzles, etc. The evil, the darkness, and the horror of possession and demonic activity could have also been used more effectively. I think with another 100 pages Pyper could have created something spectacular. As is, the novel is entertaining, and it flirts with danger and darkness. A worthy effort, but not on the level of William Blatty’s The Exorcist or Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby (novels to which Pyper’s book has been oft-compared). Still, highly recommended. The story entertains, the pacing never rests, and the demonic is never boring.
  • (4/5)
    This the story of professor David Ullman. Professor Ullman is an expert on John Milton and his life is not going so great when we first meet him. His wife is cheating on him and he runs into the man involved with his wife after the last class of the semester. They have a verbal altercation. He then runs into a mysterious woman outside his office that he calls "the thin woman". The thin woman tells him to go to Italy, all expenses paid, and be at a certain address at a prearranged time. He thinks she is crazy, but is also intrigued. When Professor Ullman arrives home his wife tells him she wants a divorce. The best thing in David Ullman's life is his daughter, Tess. Tess is not surprised about the divorce. David and Tess are very close and seem to have a special bond. Profeffor Ullman and his daughter decide to make the trip to Italy since it is all expenses paid and it would be a great escape from the looming divorce. David doesn't expect much from the potential meeting in Italy and mostly looks forward to having an adventure with Tess. It is in Italy that we first encounter the demons in this book. The is also when the book starts to get very scary. It's not often a book actually scares me, but this one was quite creepy. Things go downhill from here for the professor as he battles demons across the United States. Milton's Paradise Lost plays a major role in this novel as quotes from the poem lead Professor Ullman on his quest. He has help from his best friend Elaine along the way. I would hate to spoil anything, so I will say no more about the story. I highly reccomend this very fast paced, scary book.
  • (4/5)
    The demonologist of the title is Prof. David Ullman, who does not consider himself a demon specialist but rather a Milton scholar specializing in ‘Paradise Lost’. At the end of the school term, he is looking forward to a dinner with his best friend, Prof. Jane O’Brian, and then spending time with his 11 year old daughter, Tess. But before he can get out of his office, a thin woman, with colorless skin and a smell of the earth, urges him to accept a job: take a trip to Venice and witness something. All expenses paid. He rejects the offer, and hurries off. But when his friend gives him bad news, and his unfaithful wife gives him bad news on his arrival home, he changes his mind and takes Tess to Venice. While there, he witnesses a strange phenomenon, and his daughter falls from the roof of the hotel in the Venetian canals, body not found, presumed downed and swept away. The rest of the book is his quest to find the daughter he is sure is still alive, but held by beings he formerly thought were figments of the imagination. The journey takes him all around North America and into his past. It reminded me of a somewhat more literate Da Vinci Code: the professor who suddenly is thrust into the role of both sleuth and action hero, what with the clues he must figure out to get to the next stage and the race against time before his daughter is lost to him forever. It’s a tense journey. The book is not without its flaws. It gets boring in some stretches. The characters don’t have a great amount of depth; even David, whose past is explored during the journey, remains more opaque than I wanted. O’Brian is the person that I would have liked to have found out more about; she remains a flat character, a useful sacrifice in the quest. As a strong woman with nothing to lose, I expected more from her. But despite these flaws, the book is worth reading. The demon is the classic kind, not the romantic kind that falls in love with a human and turns his back on evil; that’s kind of refreshing these days.
  • (3/5)
    Last night I had the dream again. Except it’s not a dream. I know because when it comes for me, I’m still awake.

    Professor David Ullman teaches religious literature and is a scholar of Milton’s Paradise Lost and also of demons, but the irony about his studies is that David does not believe in demons or anything else. Outside the classroom David’s life is in turmoil. His wife wants a divorce and at the same time he receives a strange visitor at his office- a very thin woman with an unrecognizable accent. The woman represents a client with an invitation for David to come to Venice and witness a “phenomenon.” With the impending divorce David decides to accept the invitation and leaves with his daughter, Tess.

    Venice was meant to be a break from the troubles at home and for some quality time between a father and daughter, but David was unprepared for the evil that awaited them, and then he lost Tess in the canals of Venice. Frantic to get his daughter back, David embarks on a quest to save his daughter and in the process must become a believer or lose his daughter forever in The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper. This is a literary horror novel about a father’s love, and the struggle between good and evil.

    Has been described as “A fast-paced Exorcist-meets-Da Vinci Code.” which does the book no favours at all. This book's creeping, sly horror is much more subtle and insidious that the Exorcist and the Demonologist is far too frighteningly well written to be compared to a Dan Brown novel.

    Pyper writes almost too well and the novel is a sophisticated horror stuffed with literary references and some fantastic writing. The story slowly draws you in exploiting that instinctive common collective fear humanity has regarding Satan and all his works.

    The book has much strength but two factors stand out to make the novel worth reading.

    The first is Ullman and his inner ponderings; whether he is thinking about the demonic clues left for him or Paradise Lost (literally) gives the book real emotional depth
    The second is the inclusion of Paradise Lost itself and I thought the author showed great understanding of the text and used it to good effect rather than just as pretentious padding.

    However … I had some difficulty suspending disbelief therefore was not as fully engaged as I probably should have been and subsequently not as ‘frit'.I was constantly deliberating what the Unnamed actually wanted with this depressed, melancholy Milton scholar chasing his demonic clues all across America and the ambiguous ending didn’t help.

    However I there was much to enjoy and think this quote sums it up “The Demonologist holds a mirror to the reader and reveals the places where our deepest darkness lurks. Like Milton’s Paradise Lost, this is the story of the human condition, the fall, and the way back.”
  • (4/5)
    THE DEMONOLOGIST by Andrew PyperWhat a relief to finally see the lost art of a horror novel coming back into vogue. During the 70;s and 80’s the bookstores were inundated with cookie cutter assembly line tales of terror and eventually readers of that genre mostly lost interest. We still had Mr. King, Mr. Barker, Dan Simmons and Anne Rice but the literary horror crop dried up and the winds of originality blew them away.THE DEMONOLOGIST by Andrew Pypher is a welcome treat for those craving a well written, thought provoking, downright creepy tale of horror. The feel and flow of Mr. Pyper’s unraveling of the main character’s David Ullman’s world is at best a good old fashioned tale of a possession. Professor David Ullman is an expert on Milton’s Paradise Lost and teaches classes on the prose and all of it’s hidden meanings. His personal life is in shambles due to his wife’s infidelity and his daughter Tess is slowly retreating into herself due to the broken family dynamic. Tess worships her father and despises her mother. A chance to get away for a few days with Tess is offered to David by an extremely thin woman with a mysterious invitation…travel to Venice and witness a phenomenon. What happens to David once he arrives in Venice and what he witnesses (the description of that scene is pure literary genius) is the stuff that nightmares are spawned from. I can see THE DEMONOLOGIST made into a major motion picture with the likes of Kevin Kline in the lead role.Completely off the mark but this novel had the feel and texture of a European MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. No comparison at all…just how Mr. Pyper describes the city of Venice with all of it’s good and bad nuances..
  • (3/5)
    All the elements of a good story were there, but the author just didn't quite stick the landing. For most of the book, it seemed like he was coaxing the reader along unneccesarily. In 2013, you don't need to pretend that The Exorcist or any other of the myriad demonic possession books/movies don't exist. We know how it works.Overall, it was a decent story. "The Unnamed" would have been a better title, though.
  • (3/5)
    Literary thriller based on Paradise Lost? Yes, please! But I'm sad to say that Andrew Pyper's The Demonologist didn't do much for me. The characters are undeveloped, what exactly is really going on is never really made clear, and the plot drags for long stretches. Sure, I wanted to find out what happened, so I kept reading with high hopes that the book would improve, but it never really did (in fact, the rushed ending was pretty awful). Since it seems fairly clear this one will be a movie someday, it may be worth waiting for that.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this horror story with a literary bent. Demonic possession, Milton's Paradise Lost, and a buddy road trip story (kind of). And Venice. You've got me there. Fun and touching at the same time, kinda scary but not too much. I actually think that's a good thing.
  • (5/5)
    I won a copy from the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.Very compelling and exciting story. I couldn't tear myself away from it even though I really didn't have all that much free time to read it. I skipped some sleep to finish it up!
  • (4/5)
    We all know the conscious mind can sometimes become so devastated with life’s depressions that it can create hallucinatory events. And we also know that the subconscious mind can sometimes create our very own demons. Or maybe these demons are truly among us in this world. The Demonologist will keep you guessing about these options. This novel is a page-turning supernatural thriller, full of darkness and psychological horror. Andrew Pyper's style of writing is calm and understated, witty, insightful, and his characters engaging. The story zigzags between demons and poetry (Milton’s Paradise Lost), with love and depression rocking David Ullman’s world. This guy is an atheist, an expert in literature about divinity and demonology, yet, he believes in neither, until … he discovers that his daughter, Tess, is in peril and the demons are winning. Exquisite horror!One last note. The ending was not what I expected. And no matter how many times I reread that ending, I’m still left dangling in the fog, searching for the emotional triumph. What really happened? What is this author saying about demons? Allegory, psychosis, or reality? Perhaps this is the spell of The Demonologist.
  • (4/5)
    "The mind is its own place, and in it selfCan make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.""The Demonologist" is a wonderfully literate, fast-paced, party-psychological/part-supernatural thriller. The plot and pacing have a distinctly cinematic feel. Author Andrew Pyper's smart and polished prose, creates a very visual and emotional narrative. The plot centers around David Ullman, a professor and expert of John Milton's "Paradise Lost", who's drawn into an ever intriguing plot that's both religious horror and literary mystery: imagine if "The Exorcist" and "Da Vinci Code" had a baby. Ullman's daughter is drawn down into the literal depths of a lost paradise, as David travels from New York to Venice, and then across the U.S., finding physical and metaphysical clues and using Milton's famed poem as a guidepost to save his daughter.Battling psychological demons tied to a traumatic childhood and a widening gap between with his soon-to-be ex wife, David comes to terms with the more supernatural aspects of the mystery: "Why is demonology more common than reincarnation, more than sacrificial offerings, more than the way we pray or the houses of worship where we congregate or the form the apocalypse will take at the end of time? Because demons exist."Ullman uses his mastery of language to craft a beautifully nuanced story and set of characters. Ullman and his daughter are the most three dimensional of the small cast, and the relationship between the two provides the emotional fuel that drives the movement between plot sequences.The only thing holding me back from adding a fifth star to the rating is that Pyper didn't take full advantage of his writing skills to further flesh out key character backstories, and build a third dimension on the primary antagonist. He easily could’ve included an additional 150 pages to deepen the mystery and further explore the elements of horror. The advance reader copy I reviewed mentions that the book has already been optioned by a high profile Hollywood production company, and with its’ elements of horror and mystery, the story will translate extremely well to the big screen. It's visual; it moves quickly, the characters are interesting and the deep affecting father-daughter love story is immediately relatable.I recommend “The Demonologist” without reservation. It’s a fun, deep, and rewardingly scary read.I received "The Demonologist" through Amazon's Vine program.
  • (5/5)
    *This is an ARC copy via goodreads giveaway*5 Stars!When Professor David Ullman, expert scholar of Milton’s Paradise Lost, receives an offer to travel to Venice, Italy by a mysterious woman it seems to be a much needed break from his personal dilemma. He is expected to witness something, a phenomenon, for a large amount of money. He’s uneasy about the task and unsure how his opinion can help the woman and her employer since he is not a believer, but sees this trip as an escape for his daughter as well as himself. After an unimaginable tragedy in Venice, David finds himself following symbols and clues provided mostly by the book he has studied the most of his life to save his daughter from the demonic entity that has stolen her and is testing him.I will say up front that this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The plot is original and very thought provoking. It’s smart and even though I am of my own opinions in this particular area there were many times that I found myself contemplating ideas. The margins now have notes and pages are marked for me to go back to, which is not uncommon but has been a rare practice of mine lately. The characters are as good as the plot. David is very vivid; a complex character but also very relatable. It was also clear how important the minor characters were to the story. I have nothing negative to say about this novel. This will be reread and I will pass it down to my husband. I cannot recommend this one enough!
  • (5/5)
    This book is really just incredible. Less than five minutes into it I was fascinated and couldn't put it down. I've always been interested in Paradise Lost by Milton but would have loved this book regardless. Highly recommend.
  • (4/5)
    Didnt particularly like the end but thoroughly enjoyed the book as a whole